Welcome to my first stationery blog!
Wow, how sad does that sound? It must be sadder, though, that even just writing those words fills me with joy. Surely.
As you will have seen from my ‘Stationery’ page, this is me starting to blog about my favourite creative findings – mainly because I have so many lying about my and also because I’d like to promote creativity.
I thought I’d kick this off with my new, favourite thing: my Wax Sealing Kit.
There it is in all it’s used glory (because I forgot to take a photo before I tried it all out).
I bought this little beauty after eyeing it up for a long time. A friend of mine, blogger Moon Child, used a red wax seal on my letter as part of the Typewriter Poetry Project, which I thought was just the loveliest touch ever.
There is a real appeal surrounding Wax Sealing Kits. I’m aware that they are very, very dated and hold no practical purpose in letter writing now due to the introduction of glued envelopes. However, they look exceptional on handwritten letters and on documents typed on parchment, especially with a typewriter. So yes, regarding any questions surrounding the practicality of the traditional Wax Seal – you’re right. Today, they are merely cosmetic but don’t they look great?
I bought my kit for £6.50 on eBay – an absolute bargain! The kit box itself is shaped like a book and ties with a maroon, silky ribbon at the side where the ‘pages’ are. Inside there are two tea lights, a metal spoon, a stamp initialised ‘R’ in gorgeous Georgian font and three different sticks of wax: red, gold and silver. Everything I could need to begin, except a lighter.
I sat down to try out my kit on nothing but a jumbo sketch pad I bought from HobbyCraft, the same one I’ve been using to practise calligraphy in, too. Sketch pads seem optimal as their pages are thicker than regular paper and so ink (or in this case, wax) does not seep through onto the next page.
How to Use a Wax Sealing Kit
Using a wax sealing kit is very much a business of trial and error.
Lay your sketch pad flat.
You must do this to attain the best results. If the pad is even remotely slanted the wax will run when it is liquidised. Trust me, I learned this the hard way.
Break off some wax.
There are two ways to get the wax shards into the spoon.
On my first attempt I used scissors to scrape and saw off chunks of the stick. The sticks are very thick. I found that heating the stick over the tea light for about 30 seconds softened it enough to cut through. The more wax you use, the thicker your seal will be. There is such a thing as not having enough, though, which results in transparency in your seal or simply not having enough wax to cover the area of the stamp. So, be generous and experiment with different amounts.
Another way to get the wax into the spoon is by melting it directly onto it. Holding your lighter at the bottom at an angle, heat the wax, letting it drip onto the spoon – though, do be careful if you are just using matches.
Lift the shards of wax into the spoon from wherever they’ve landed (on the sketch pad, on the floor, in the cats bowl – there is no end.)
Here is some of the gold wax in the spoon, ready for melting.
Melt the wax.
Light your tea light and hold the spoon about 10cm above the flame. The wax takes hardly any time at all to melt. You should stop melting once the wax is in a completely liquidised state or if it starts smoking.
Make a perfect circle with the wax.
This part is trick and involves getting the wax from the spoon onto the paper in a shape which resembles that of a wax seal.
The wax does pour easily but this produces quite a messy shape. I found that the best way to get a circle is to capsize the spoon and hold it there for a few seconds. Just a few seconds.
Lift the spoon up. Using the wax still dripping from it, fill in any gaps.
Quickly stamp on the wax.
Hold the stamp for about five seconds and then left. Your wax will have already begun hardening by this stage. You must not hold it on for any great length of time to avoid the stamp sticking to the paper and ripping it off when you release it.
Four attempts later and I think I’m beginning to get the hang of it.
[NB] It’s important that you scrub any wax out of the spoon if you are changing colour. This will be a challenge and it may help to heat all of the existing wax in he spoon until it is liquidised again to make it easier to scrub off.
If you are not changing colour, just leave the hard wax in the spoon as it is and it can be used next time you make a seal!